India Gets Beant Singh's Killer. But Punjab Chief Minister Wants 13 Terrorists Released

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India Gets Beant Singh's Killer. But Punjab Chief Minister Wants 13 Terrorists Released

Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal (Press Trust of India file photo)

New Delhi:  The NDA government claimed a major victory in fighting terror with the arrest of Khalistani terrorist Jagtar Singh Tara. But a month ago, its alliance partner Shiromani Akali Dal sought the release of 13 more Khalistani terrorists serving life sentence in five states.

Two of them were convicted for the assassination of former Punjab Chief Minister Beant Singh - as was Jagtar Singh Tara, who was arrested in Thailand, where he was living under the alias of Gurmeet Singh. (Read: Assassin of Former Chief Minister Beant Singh Caught in Thailand)

Senior ministry officials told NDTV that the SAD's request is not likely to be granted.

In December, Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had written to the Chief Ministers of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Karnataka and Gujarat and the Lieutenant Governor of Delhi and Administrator of Chandigarh, seeking "premature release" of 13 terrorists.

Of them, Paramjit Singh Bheora, Jagtar Singh Hawara and Daya Singh Lahoria are in Delhi's Tihar Jail.  Gurmeet Singh Fauji is in Rajasthan. Subeg Singh and Nand Singh are in jails of Chandigarh.

Tara was arrested after meticulous work by Indian security establishment - from tracking him down to lengthy exchanges with the host country. During his visit to Thailand in December, even junior Union home minister Kiren Rijiju made a special request for help in his arrest.

Mr Badal's plea came at a time when security agencies are consistently warning the Centre of ongoing efforts in Pakistan and a few other countries to revive the unrest in Punjab.

"It is surprising and disturbing," a senior home ministry official told NDTV.

The request was also made as the Shiromani Akali Dal-BJP alliance in Punjab hit a rough patch. There are indications that local leaders of both parties are keen to go their own way.

Mr Badal's request is likely to put more strain on the alliance, as the states have sought the Union home ministry's views on the issue.

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